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Until 1958, women were barred from sitting in the House of Lords. In 1921, Viscountess Rhondda, a female hereditary peer, took a case to the House of Lords Privileges Committee, which considered peerage claims and related matters. She believed that the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 gave her the right to a seat in the House of Lords, because it stated that “a woman shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from any public function”. The committee initially found in her favour and voted to allow her to sit in the House of Lords. However, the Lord Chancellor and several other peers raised objections. The Privileges Committee considered the case again but this time voted against the petition and concluded that legislation was required to enable women to be admitted to the House of Lords. The Life Peerages Act 1958 enabled women to receive life peerages and sit in the Lords but it was another five years until female hereditary peers were able to take their seats with the passing of the Peerage Act 1963.


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